Lindsay Heiss Didn’t Let 2020 Stop Her from Attaining A Dream of Opening A Gymnastics Facility in Fort Pierre
During 2020, when other businesses were struggling to stay open and some were even closing for good, Lindsay Heiss was home dreaming about the gymnastics facility she had wanted to open since she first started teaching gymnastics in 2013.
Heiss was a gymnast and track athlete during high school winning multiple state championships and state place medals in gymnastics, track and basketball. In June of 2022, she was inducted into the Stanley County High School Sports Hall of Fame.
She initially started teaching her own two-year-old daughter with a small group of moms around the community. This became a “Mommy & Me” class with around 20 other parents and their kids which sparked an interest and request for more classes. She rented space from the Pierre Administration and taught at their facility for 7 years. She previously coached high school gymnastics at Stanley County from 2008-2010 and knew there was a big need for a facility for the sport at multiple levels.
After considering existing spaces in Fort Pierre but not finding anything suitable, Heiss began looking for a lot in 2016 where she could build a facility. When 2020 came along, Heiss found herself at home like everyone else teaching gymnastics in her living room and in her backyard during the summer. But she did not give up her dream and in the fall of 2020 she bought a lot at 618 Far West Road in Fort Pierre.
Building during the pandemic was not without its challenges. Heiss was finally able to buy a steel package for her steel building in October 2020, but did not break ground for the facility until August 2021. She said, “They started on the building October 12th and it went up in six days. Time was a factor as we needed to get it ready for the Stanley County gymnastics program.” Heiss, her husband A.Jay and their kids sealed and stained the 6,000 sq. ft. cement floor themselves a week before opening. They opened it up for the Stanley County gymnastics program on December 18th, 2021.
Heiss said, “God has amazed me in the process all along the way by keeping me from jumping the gun and by giving me time to be at home with my family. His timing has been perfect.”
When asked how she came up with the name for the facility, she said, “In gymnastics and in life, when you fall you get back up. Sometimes we need a little help from our friends and teammates to push through and this has become our motto for Rise Gymnastics, “Together We Rise.”
Heiss gives her husband A.Jay Heiss much credit for his support and encouragement. He is also her right hand man for all the heavy duty work at Rise Gymnastics.
Rise Gymnastics offers programs for boys up to age 12 and include Ninja Class and Strength, Speed & Agility. Boys can participate in the regular classes also. Her regular classes include parent and me up to high school age. Parent & me involves parent or grandparent participation in the sessions.
She has a handful of high school kids who also assist as well as four adult instructors: Lynn Siedschlaw, Julie Muldoon, Therese Schutz, and Jenny Jones. Heiss says, “I wouldn’t be able to operate without all of my amazing staff.” Her mom, Sherri Stoeser, also helps with the odds and ends around the gym keeping everything tidy.
The facility is currently decorated for a Halloween theme with a bouncy house included. She is planning to do the same for Christmas. Next spring Fort Pierre Development Corporation will assist her with a ribbon cutting in conjunction with a customer appreciation day.
When asked what is the most difficult thing about operating your own business? Heiss said, “Balancing home life and business. It has been a very humbling experience. We now have 230 students and we could probably go bigger, but it’s important to find the balance.”